UK-based chain group PizzaExpress has posted a 15.9% growth in turnover in its half year results, despite a flat outlook for like-for-like sales across the UK and Ireland.
For the 28 weeks ended 10 January 2016, the 15.9% rise in turnover took it to £267.2m, but the company's like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland stayed relatively flat at just 0.5%. EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was 3% ahead of last year, at £56.4m.
Over the past half year, the company has also established its PizzaExpress Delivered service - launched at two London locations in September 2015 â' with plans to roll the concept out nationally, and has also acquired the 17-site London pizza delivery company Firezza.
The group's new chicken restaurant in Cambridge, named Reys, has also seen "encouraging" initial performance and "very positive" customer feedback, the report said.
Richard Hodgson, chief executive of PizzaExpress, commented: "Despite a more challenging market backdrop, PizzaExpress has performed well in the first half of the year and the developments in our new delivery offer and the initial success of Reys have been particularly exciting. Customer-led innovation is a core part of our business."
He added that menu innovation, such as the Brussel sprout pizza at Christmas, and other new menu items, had been well-received by customers.
The company's retail business - which sees it sell branded pizzas and dough balls in supermarkets - had also grown, he said.
First opened in London's Soho in 1965 by Peter Boizot, PizzaExpress now has 500 sites globally.